Brexit is 'extremely unfortunate' for the region's aviation industry, says the European Commission

  • There is "absolutely no doubt" that Brexit would negatively impact the region's aviation industry, the European Commission said Monday.
  • It is already certain at this point that the U.K. would not remain in the European Aviation Safety Agency and get full access to the E.U. single market for aviation, said Henrik Hololei, the European Commission's director-general for mobility and transport.
  • Nevertheless, Hololei said he envisions the European Commission striking a deal with the U.K. similar to what the organization has with the U.S.

The United Kingdom and the European Union are still negotiating final divorce terms, but there is "absolutely no doubt" that Brexit will negatively affect the region's aviation industry, the European Commission said Monday.

"Brexit is extremely unfortunate and it will have a negative impact on aviation more generally. There is absolutely no doubt about that," Henrik Hololei, the European Commission's director-general for mobility and transport, told CNBC.

What is also certain at this point, pending a final agreement, is that the U.K. would not remain in the European Aviation Safety Agency, he said. That's because Britain has indicated it won't accept the supremacy of the European Court of Justice, which is a pre-condition to staying in the EASA.

The agency ensures airlines respect safety rules and certifies aerospace products across the bloc, helping to bring down the costs of development and production within the industry. The U.K. has been "a very significant contributor" to the EASA both with finances and its leadership on ideas and policies, according to a November 2017 report by CAPA Centre for Aviation.

The U.K. will also not get full access to the E.U. single market for aviation, Hololei explained — that's the opportunity for manufacturers and airlines to trade tariff-free throughout the region.

Losing "a member of that caliber," said Hololei, is something "everybody will be feeling very sorry about."

Nevertheless, Hololei said he envisions the European Commission having an aviation agreement with the U.K. similar to what the organization currently has with the U.S. and Canada. The E.U. and the U.S. have a bilateral agreement that allows European airlines to fly from the region to the U.S. without restrictions.

"We're looking more into the kind of relationship that we have with the United States and some of the other third countries," he said. "We are ready to engage but we also would like to know more what kind of relationship the U.K. itself is looking for."

— Reuters contributed to this report.